Longtime PIttsburgh and public broadcaster Fred Rogers tried to set the tone for noncommercial station executives' visits to Capitol Hill at a Tuesday morning breakfast speech to an America's Public Television Stations crowd.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was being honored at the breakfast with its Champion of Public Television Award for his help in getting state funding for the switch to digital television.
Rogers said that Congress needed public television to articulate what the FCC knew when it set aside channels for noncommercial educaitonal television, "that public broadcasting is at its best when it listens to the heartbeat of the nation and is its quiet servant."
Commercial TV, he said, had long ago chosen to listen to ratings instead. Your mission, he told them, is to "offer rare moments filled with the things human beings shouldn't have to live without." People know when they are being used, he said, and when they are being cherished.
- John Eggerton